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`Singled out'

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C. Sridhar, a bachelor, wonders why the city is unfriendly towards single men

I am among the lakhs of bachelors living in and around Chennai. We are mostly here for one purpose — to work for a better future for our dependents and for ourselves. Despite our considerable numbers, we aren't treated too well. Recently, I had a worrying experience that made me wonder if being a bachelor was such a good idea after all. To get a gas connection, I needed a ration card for which I had to be married or take days off from work to travel back home and cancel my name from the ration card there. I have a passport, a voter's ID card, a driver's licence, a PAN card, and quite a few income tax receipts, but they all turned out to be useless.There have been other instances where I have deplored my unmarried state. There is the house-owner who looks at every prospective tenant with suspicion if he/she even utters the word "bachelor" or "spinster". Out of curiosity, I once asked my previous landlord why he was against bachelors and he said with a knowing grin, "I was a bachelor once. I know what you guys do!" He may have hinted at "drink, devilry and debauchery". He later did realise and even appreciate us for being quieter and more polite than the other tenants. But this was only when we were about to leave the flat... useless hindsight! Then come the neighbours. A few years back when living with my parents, mothers in the neighbourhood with a plate in their hands feeding their children pointed to us saying, "Look over there, Anna is waving at you." Now, I live alone and they rush in with their kids and slam doors just because I smile at them. But the very same neighbours potter in to occasionally borrow something or with a request to teach their children Math or Science, or occasionally to talk about politics or the weather.Financial institutions have refused home loans to my bachelor friends, even if they are chartered accountants or software guys. Discotheques, my partying friends report, do not allow "stags" in but "does" (is that the right word?) are allowed.I wish people would allow us to get on with our lives.

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